What's covered

Host collation versus printer collation

Collation in Acrobat

Force Host Collation in Acrobat 7.0.5 and later

How collated pages print depends on the type of collation being done and what version of Acrobat is installed so when you print PDF files from Acrobat, the pages may not be collated as expected.

Host collation versus printer collation

There are two kinds of collation: printer collation and host collation. Printer collation sends the print jobs separately to the printer and allows the printer to figure out how the pages should be collated. For example if you send out two copies of a two page job, the printer receives two jobs of two pages.

Host collation figures out how the pages should be collated in Acrobat and then sends that job to the printer. For example if you send out two copies of a two page job, the printer receives a single rearranged job of four pages.

Printer collation is more efficient and integrates with printer post-processing features that are based on collation, like stapling and binding. However, printer collation does not work on all printers. Host collation, on the other hand, works consistently with all printers, but can cause problems with post-processing features.

Note: The printer collation behavior is actually determined by the printer driver rather than the printer itself. A different version of the printer driver may deliver a different collation behavior on the same printer.

Collation in Acrobat

Acrobat 6.0x only supported printer collation. If a printer claims to offer the option, then the choice is enabled in the Print dialog. However, some PostScript printers incorrectly report that they support collation; in these cases, the collation option in Acrobat was available, but had no effect.

Acrobat 7.0.0 through Acrobat 7.0.3 offered the collation option for all printers. For all PostScript printers, Acrobat 7.0.0-7.0.3 always used host collation. For non PostScript printers, if the drivers support collation, printer collation was used. If the printer did not support it, then Acrobat 7.0.0-7.0.3 used host collation. This means that those PostScript printers with collation-based features did not operate as expected.

Acrobat 7.0.5 and later on Windows added support for printer collation on those PostScript printers that report to offer collation. Acrobat 8.0 on Mac OS also offers Printer collation on PostScript printers that support collation. Because support for printer collation may be reported incorrectly by some printers, documents printed with the collation option selected may not print as expected.

Operating System Mac OS Windows
GDI printer that can't collate Host collation Host collation
GDI printer that can collate Host collation Printer collation
PS printer that says it can't collate Host collation Host collation
PS printer that says it can collate but really can't. Host collation Collation fails unless host collation is forced
PS printer that can collate Printer collation Printer collation (unless host collation is forced)

To work around this issue on Windows, you can force host collation for all printers simultaneously.

Force Host Collation in Acrobat 8.0

Disclaimer: This procedure involves editing the registry. Adobe doesn't provide support for editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. Make sure to back up the registry before modifying it. For more information about the registry, refer to Windows Help.

To force host collation for all printers:

1. Choose Start > Run, type Regedit in the Open text box, and then click OK.

2. Make a backup copy of the registry:

a. Choose File > Export....

b. In the Export Registry File dialog box, choose All for the Export range.

c. Specify a location and name for the backup copy, and then click Save.

3. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\8.0 registry key.

4. Create a key named AVPrivate. In that key, create a DWORD value named bForceHostCollationPS with a value of 1. For instructions on creating a registry key and a value, see the help for the Registry Editor in Help > Help Topics.

5. Choose File > Exit, and then restart the computer.